COVID-19 AWARENESS: Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our on-air personalities, interviewees and crew safe during this challenging time. However, we do run repeat stories and segments that were shot last year, before social distancing practices were recommended by health officials. If you see our hosts standing close to someone, please be assured that the segment was shot before March of 2020. We thank you for your concern and your interest in Garden Time.
April showers bring SNOW!? This past week was a really crazy one if you are a gardener. We went from 75 degrees to snow in just 4 days! The cooler temps seem to be here for a little bit so remember to not get too excited about getting your tender garden plants into the ground. We still have plenty of time!
We would like to take a moment to thank all of our fans for coming out to the 18th GardenPalooza event last weekend at Baumanís Farm and Garden. We had to move to a new location for this yearís event, but everyone found us and the day was a huge success! Even a couple of cloud bursts didnít dampen anyoneís spirits. We donít know the future of the event since the Garden Time crew will be stepping back, but we will try our best to make sure this event will continue on!
This week we featured...
Plant your strawberries now for a bountiful harvest this coming summer. Jonathan from Al's Garden Center (503-491-0771) in Gresham, explained the different types of strawberries to Ryan and even told us how to plant them. There are 2 main types of berries you can plant for eating. 'June-bearing' gives you one crop and are perfect for lots of berries at one time for canning and preserving. 'Ever-bearing' gives you lots of small crops, and are great for handfuls of berries until the first frost. Some of the varieties that we talked about were Hood, Rainier, Benton and Shuksan for June bearing varieties and Seascape and Sweet Ann for ever-bearing types. We even talked about a couple of the ornamental types. These are good as a ground cover and to prevent soil erosion, but donít create a crop for you to enjoy at your breakfast table.
For best results plant your strawberry plants in a row about 1 foot apart. Amend the soil with a time released transplant fertilizer. You should also keep the crown of the plant above the soil level. There are a couple of other things that growers do to get a good crop... plant new berries every 3-4 years. Some gardeners 'tip back' the plant, which means you cut off the runners and the fruit for the first year. This makes the plant put its energy into the fruit for the next season, but it is not necessary. You bought the plant for the fruit, so enjoy it while you can! The other benefit about strawberries is that you can plant them in any container. Once in a container, you can bring them up to your patio and enjoy them right on your deck! Remember to fertilize and use a slug bait for a large, delicious and bug free treat.
You can pick up any of these varieties, the supplies and even containers at any of the 4 Al's locations. This weekend they are having their DIY Container Days at all locations. They can help you plant a new pot or one that you pick at the nursery. They will supply the soil, fertilizer and gloves for you! You walk in with ideas and walk out with a beautiful creation!
STIHL Kombi System
We have featured the Kombi system before, but there have been a couple of new additions to the line of tools and the motors that run them. We stopped by to visit with Wayne from STIHL tools to learn more. The Kombi System is a group of tools that all use the same motor, all you have to do is change the attachment for the lawn or garden chore that you are trying to tackle. First of all there is the choice of power plants to run the system. You can get a number of different gas powered motors to meet your gardening needs. They even have a complete line of battery powered units which takes all the trouble out of mixing fuels and engine maintenance. Then you have the full line of choices for attachments. These include sweepers, trimmers, edgers, cultivators, and pruners. These attachments are very easy to change too. Just unlock the attachment from the power unit and pull it out. Push the new one in and lock it and you are good to go. Check out the full selection on the STIHL website, or https://www.stihldealers.com/ for a dealer near you.
Bonide Mole Max
Moles and voles are a problem in many gardens. There are some gardeners who would do anything to deter these little soil partiers! One product that works really well and is safe around pets and kids in the MoleMax product from Bonide. Tom Combs met us in a garden full of mole hills to tell us how it works. Tom told us that you apply the product over an area where you have mole activity. He recommends that you divide the area in half and apply to one half. Once they are driven out of that half you apply it to the other half of the area and drive them, one direction, out of your garden. The product works by coating the worms and grubs, their food source, with a nasty tasting layer. They donít like the smell and taste and they move on. You will need to reapply if you see new activity in your garden. It is one way to get rid of mole and vole problems in your garden!
Spring is a great time to catch all those early blooming plants, but donít forget about the trees that are showing off. We took a walk with Martin Nicholson of Hoyt Arboretum (503-865-8733) to check out the magnolia collection in Washington Park. The arboretum has a great collection of the 2 main varieties of magnolias, the Asian and the American, about 20 cultivars which are in bloom right now. Magnolias are a native to other parts of the world but they do well here too. You just have to remember that they need specific conditions to thrive. Most of them like full sun, but their roots donít like the heat. So if you can provide those conditions you can grow most of the different varieties available. They also like summer rainfall, so give them a little drink during the heat! One of Martinís favorite magnolias is a huge specimen, the Magnolia Ďveitchiií. This one can get as tall as 60-90 feet so you better have room for it, but it also has pink blooms the size of a dinner plate! Martin mentioned that this is just the start of the blooms. There are some varieties that will start blooming soon and others that will bloom later, so you can see flowers throughout the spring and summer. If you get a chance, check out the magnolia collection at the arboretum. It is free and there are self-guided maps at the visitorís center.
Planting Summer Bulbs
I know that we are just seeing some of our spring bulbs blooming, but it is also the time to start thinking about the late summer color we get with summer blooming bulbs. There are lots of bulbs and tubers that you can plant in April and May including tuberous begonias, lilies, gladiolus, crocosmia and dahlias. Remember too, that these bulbs will benefit from a little boost of bulb food when they go into the ground. You can pick up a prepackaged box of food or even try some bone meal. Also, you want to plant the bulb or tuber at the right depth. To help you, Portland Nursery has a page about bulbs that you can check out on their website and they even have a downloadable chart that shows planting depths. For more information you can call or stop by either location, on 50th and Stark, or 90th and Division.
We started the tips of the month with a talk about Ducky. Janís Ďgardení cat was a frequent visitor to our shoots in the garden. We could be visiting for over an hour with Jan and not see her, but when the camera came out Ducky would appear. She recently passed and we will miss her.
This month we met Jan in her house in front of a nice fire. It was cold and snowy outside, which gave us our first topic for our tips of the month. We talked about the recent snow and the problems it might create for the gardener. This Ďeventí was mainly snow with little or no frost. Snow events generally are not a big problem. The snow actually acts as an insulator and helps protect plants from frost damage. The only problem with snow is the weight. If we get a good amount, it can knock down trees and branches, doing damage to large plants in your garden. If we had a hard frost, then you would see significant damage to your landscape plants. Even with this small event, some of the new growth on your plants might show some damage when it warms up, but wait to see if you DO have damage before you do any cutting or pruning. Your spring bulbs will be fine with this cold. They are used to this type of weather. This cold weather is a reminder though that you should wait to plants some of your tender garden plants. Until the soil temperature gets warmer, around 50 degrees, your plants will just sit there and do nothing, or they may die. Even if the day is sunny and warm, it is better to wait for the soil to catch up. Jan marks her seed packets with the temperature they need for germination. For some it could be 40 degrees, for other it could be 60. By doing this, she gives her seeds the best chance for surviving. You can still put your cold weather/early season crops in right now including potatoes, peas and lettuce. Jan also got some new strawberries planted too.
Jan talked about the famous lemon too. It has lost a few leaves, but it will bounce back with fertilizer and some warmer temperatures. This is also true of the Angels Trumpet in her greenhouse. It is looking rough but was loaded with blooms. She is going to use fertilizer in her greenhouse on some of her plants, but not in the garden yet. The temps have to be warmer before the plants can utilize it outside.
A lot of people think that orchids are hard to grow and difficult to care for. We put that myth to rest with a visit from Lori from the Oregon Orchid Society (503-632-4884). Lori was not a collector of orchids, in fact she was growing cactus until someone gave her 2 orchids and that got her excited about orchids and she now grows over 10,000 orchids as a hobby. She brought some of her collection to show us. They included a number of different types including Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) and some Paphiopedilum varieties (slipper orchids). As far as growing conditions, they pretty much like what we like; 70 degrees and comfortable, and a little water once in a while. Most people kill them with kindness and water them too much. Really they are not that touchy. You can find different varieties. There are some that are fragrant, some are delicate and some are pretty tough. If you are interested in orchids you can check out their Facebook page and website to get advice and information. They have various meetings and event throughout the year and you can find out more information from their sites.
Adaptive Gardening Tips
Since Judy hurt her hip at the beginning of spring she has been itching to get out in her garden again. Her limitations in the garden was cause for us to go back and revisit some of the tips we learned at Legacy Health from our good friend Teresia Hazen. Those great stories can be found on our website in our archive under therapy gardens. One of the first tips we learned was to make sure you are warmed up and fully stretched when heading out. Getting the blood flowing is a great idea before any exercise. Then you want to think about being safe and comfortable in the garden. For Judy that means using her walker to be in a good position for gardening and healing. From her walker she can then garden from a raised bed. We shot the story at Garden Gallery Iron Works and they had numerous raised beds to choose from. When she is able to bend down she has a pad for her knees to prevent pain and soreness. Ryan then showed us how to use an apron in the garden. The pockets can hold lots of tools, so you donít have to make a ton of trips back to the tool shed for garden implements. He also had his cell phone in a pocket of the apron. This is just in case there is a problem and you canít get up or if you have a health problem, you can call for help. Then Judy reminded us of a tip from Jan McNeilan about wrapping the handles of your long handled tools in pipe insulation. This helps with your grip and also creates less stress on your hands. Another tool is to use a extension grabber. This long handled tool allows you to pick up tools with out bending over. Speaking of tools Ryan showed us some of the ergonomic tools you can find on the market. These types of tools are designed either in their handles or in their motion to reduce stress and improve your hand and arm strength when using them. Fiskers made a couple of tools that we looked at including a hand pruner and a larger lopper. They even had bright orange handles so you can find them in the garden if you misplace them.
Finally, remember anytime you are in the garden to take lots of breaks, drink lots of water and change your position often to avoid pain and cramping. We hope these tips help you enjoy your garden with less stress and pain.
Spring Bird Care
With the coming of spring it also signals the return of birds to the garden. You can make it easier for our feathered friends by equipping your garden with all the right materials they need. We paid a visit to Backyard Bird Shop (503-445-2699) and met with Amanda to see what she recommends for bird lovers. The basics that they recommend addressing are food, water and shelter. Shelter could be a bird house, or even planting the right plants in your garden that can protect them from the weather and predators. In the past we've seen bird houses that had a smaller hole for the birds to enter with no perch. This is important. A larger hole with a perch will attract non-native types of birds or predators. An inch and a quarter is just the right size for most of your local song birds. You will also want a way to clean it out after the nesting season is over. This will prevent diseases and contamination for the next brood. You can also leave out nesting material and it will help them build a nice soft nest. Don't use dryer lint since it can hold moisture. Look for natural fibers. Food needs change depending on the type of bird you want to attract. For example, you wouldn't use a hummingbird feeder to attract a chickadee. So know your bird and use a correct feed. Most seed feeding birds like black oil sunflower seed. Suet is always a good choice for those insect feeders. It has lots of high energy fat for those cold spring days. Also, when choosing a feed, pick a quality one. Backyard Bird Shop gets fresh deliveries of seed a couple times a week. Finally, the hummingbirds are returning and you can welcome them back with a nice meal. Set up your hummingbird feeders with some fresh nectar. You can make it yourself with the recipe on the Backyard Bird Shop website. For water, a nice birdbath will do the trick. A lot of birds also like running water, so if you can install a fountain, that's even better.
Another great resource on the Backyard Bird Shop site is their bird identification charts. These will help you find and identify the most common birds in our area. They also have a great website with lots of information including a listing of all the nest times for birds, how many eggs they have and the incubation period. Check out their list here. Be sure to check their website for hours and other steps for shopping safely.
811 Call Before you Dig
There is no better feeling than turning some soil in your garden. That feeling will disappear quickly if you dig into a utility line. We found out that there is a new, easy way to avoid this problem. Aric from NW Natural told us about the 811 number. This number is a nationwide number to help homeowners and businesses locate buried utility lines so you can stay out of trouble. The 'Call Before You Dig' program is not new, but people still don't know much about it! One call will help you locate any line. If you don't call you can be held liable for the damages of cutting a line. Besides, it is the right thing to do! Just call 811 two business days before you dig. Calling 811 reduces the risk of digging into a utility by 99 percent.
FPP Unusual Dwarf Plants
We stopped by French Prairie Perennials (971-533-5637) to see some of the great plants that they have for sale at the nursery in Aurora. Rick talked with Judy about what they have available. Yes, they are open between 11-4 Wed-Sun, and by appointment, but you can call 971-533-5637 to find out more. The first plant was a dwarf blue atlas cedar called ĎHorstmanní. This one is a very slow growing variety that will only get about 10-12 feet tall. Perfect for the smaller garden! The second plant he had was a Japanese Umbrella Pine called íGreen Starí. This is one that would look great in any garden. It has cool, thick needles that make this one an eye catcher! It is also a slow grower that stays columnar and tops out at 8 feet. Next we moved to a very unique conifer, a dwarf Sawara Cypress named ĎHarvard Goldí. This was a very compact evergreen that has an even growth habit, so it looks like you have pruned it, but you havenít! It is also a beautiful golden color that can handle a little sun as well. Finally, we looked at Mahonia ĎSoft Caressí. This is a newer variety of mahonia with a softer foliage and early winter blooms that brighten the winter garden when nothing else is blooming. Of course they have even more plants to share with shoppers, but they also have a limited number of metal structures for the garden as well and to learn more about those we went into the store to talk to Kerry.
Kerry showed us some of the metal birds that they have at the store and they have a few of the larger ones too. There are even more things that they have at their store in Aurora. The store is filled with Ďgarden-themedí gifts that will work inside and outside your home. These include rain chains and bird feeders too.
TOW Ė Spring Wasp Traps
It may seem weird that we are putting out traps for wasps and yellow jackets in the spring, but next to the late summer this is the best time to use them. Our friends at Rescue (they make those cool yellow Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket traps) told us why it is a good time to put them out now. In the early spring the queens emerge from their winter hibernation and look for places to make their nests for the new season. If you get them now they won't be around to create a nest of nasty pests to ruin your summer fun. Take down your old traps, clean and refresh them with the pheromone attractant packets available at most of your local garden centers. To make your hunting more effective, place a couple of traps around the perimeter of your yard and garden.